State to appeal federal campaign finance ruling

Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The state plans to appeal a recent federal court decision against Alaska's campaign finance law.

Judge James Singleton Jr. ruled last week that the U.S. Constitution prohibits any limit on individual ''soft money'' contributions to a political party.

The soft money exception allows unlimited donations to political parties for purposes not related to the nomination and election of candidates, Attorney General Bruce Botelho said in announcing the appeal decision Monday.

Under current state law, soft money contributions made by an individual to a party are limited to $5,000.

Singleton found that limit valid when used directly for the purpose of nominating or electing candidates, but ruled any limit on contributions to political parties for non-candidate activities violates First Amendment rights to free speech.

Botelho contends that allowing unlimited soft money contributions creates a risk of undue influence by large contributors.

The state also plans to appeal the court's ruling that Alaska's campaign finance law can't limit the amount of services that professionals can donate to a political party. That limit also was set at $5,000.

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